I’m not saying that setting up an elaborate system of tribal graft isn’t the best available way to tamp down the civil war in Afghanistan, but I wonder if this is something that can really stand the light of day in this country. It may well be a long overdue concession to the realities of life in Afghanistan, but it reeks of corruption from our cultural perspective. We still have a few political graft machines here, but they lack their former legitimacy and must increasingly operate under the table. I know most Americans will wrinkle their noses when reading about this plan. It doesn’t seem right.

On the other hand, it’s a plan aimed at providing decent employment to gunmen. And that is something that always has merit.

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